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State Senators Stage Walk Out, Vote On More Gun Regulation

In response to a nationwide call for tighter gun laws, the Illinois Senate Wednesday passed several  measures. But so far Illinois has no new laws from that effort.

Following the lead of students across the country, a couple dozen senators staged their own brief walkout in memory of the Parkland, Florida shooting victims. Later, they voted on several proposals, including one to increase the wait time when purchasing an assault weapon from one day to three days.

That's the only measure to pass both the House and Senate, and will be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner.

Senators made changes to legislation that already passed the House, meaning more delay before the governor can weigh in.

State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says that gun reform is incremental. "What we saw with the kids from Florida, especially the whole trajectory and whole attention has been refocused to finally take some action.”

Others, like state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, a Chicago Democrat, say it’s a first step to get both Republicans and Democrats on-board. “And I think that’s what the message we send today (is) that it can be accomplished when people come together across the aisle to push for common-sense gun legislation,” she said. 

But not all Republicans are on the same page. Earlier this week the governor vetoed a bill to require state licenses for gun dealers, calling it “burdensome” and “unnecessary.” Rauner says the focus should not be on regulating or banning certain types of firearms.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.